Effective link building can dramatically help improve SEO; leading to better search ranking, more qualified traffic, additional leads, and higher sales!
However, the importance of relevant links to complimentary information (both incoming and outgoing) also plays an important role to SEO success. Quality link building improves SEO, search ranking, as well as often creating a positive brand perception of quality customer service.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is a strategic process where sites with a complimentary nature and common goal (not competitive), strategically place links to one another, (and similar sites) in a resource library for visitors (or similar knowledge base or help area).
Search engines like Google, consider links to relevant information that's complimentary-in-nature, both positive and useful. Pending both sites are legitimate (not of a "spamming" nature) often results with search engines ranking these sites higher in search results.
Complimentary site and resource links can vary from:
- Related industries
- Similar topics
- News Articles
- Trade directory websites, etc.
Benefits to proper link building, and relevant link trades, include:
- Better search engine ranking for related topics
- Increased qualified traffic to a site
- Improved customer service perception
- Higher consumer confidence
Better Search Ranking & Positioning
Search engines such as Google use incoming and outgoing links to help rank sites in search results. Sites with a large number of incoming links from related industry websites are often given a higher ranking than sites with few or no incoming links.
The theory is:
If a website has a large number of quality, related, incoming links (meaning the site is popular to link to); then this site must be a good and trusted resource of relevant information.
Since a search engine's goal is to provide the most relevant and trusted information to its users, it will give the website a higher ranking in search results for that particular topic.
Increased Qualified Traffic
Participating in link trades with websites of a complimentary nature is a great method for new sites to generate quality traffic immediately. Often new sites have a difficult time generating new, free, qualified traffic while waiting for search engines to index the new site for inclusion in organic search results.
Relevant and complimentary link exchanges allow new businesses to overcome this hurdle, and bring in traffic immediately. By carefully choosing the companies to link with, the links will bring in qualified, ready-to-buy, visitors.
Choosing to link with sites that are irrelevant to a company and industry rarely brings in qualified traffic. In many cases, linking to an improper site may even hurt the ranking of a website, as discussed later in this article.
Improved Customer Service Perception
Providing customers with links to other services they may need (that compliment the company's products and services) is considered a huge value to consumers. Providing information of value to visitors often increases loyalty and retention; thus providing long-term benefits for a business.
Caution must be used when linking to any website from the company website. When linking elsewhere, one is effectively endorsing and approving of that site and its content to visitors whether appropriate or offensive.
Avoiding Spam Directories
Search engines recognize sites with numerous, unrelated outgoing links as a type of link spam. These types of sites are often referred to as a "link farm". The theory is that websites with numerous unrelated outgoing links have no inherent value, or relevant information.
- Link farms are often given a lower ranking, if not removed from the search results altogether (often referred to as blacklisted).
- As well, the hosting resources wasted from irrelevant traffic can often cost money in additional hosting fees, such as bandwidth overage fees.
- From a customer service perspective, sending a customer or prospect off to a link farm can cause irreparable damage, loss of trust and credibility.
Link farms often include:
- questionable content
- viruses or malware
- links to hacker or phishing sites
- content offensive to some viewers
Overall, websites with proper link building (both incoming and outgoing) often receive higher ranking in search results. The search engine uses this as a factor when ranking the site in search results.
Always keep in mind that participating in unrelated link trades can be a major waste of time, hosting resources, and even hurt the ranking of a company's site with search engines, not to mention loss of trust and relations with customers.